February 19, 2019

Desert Water Agency Hearing On District Elections - February 19, 2019

This is a report on the public hearing held by the Desert Water Agency on the subject of "Transition to Elections by Division," i.e., district elections. The meeting was in the Lozano Community Center in Tedesco Park on Tuesday, February 19, 2019, and marks the first time in the history of its existence (well, actually first time in the memory of Nancy Wright, which is probably just as good) that the Desert Water Agency board has visited Desert Hot Springs. All five DWA directors were present.

In the audience, directors from Mission Springs Water District were present, along with Yvonne Parks and Karl Baker who ran for the DWA board in 2018 and lost. No Desert Hot Springs City Council members were present, but this hearing was at 5:30 on Tuesday and the city council meeting was scheduled to begin at 6 o'clock, so they all had a good excuse to be elsewhere.


Intro

You can download the PDF version of the Powerpoint presentation here.

General Manager Krause spoke first, providing some background on aquifers and water districts in the Coachella Valley. Below is a map of Desert Water Agency. You can see they haven't updated it to show the current boundaries of DHS. Desert Water Agency covers almost all of Palm Springs and extends into Cathedral City (about 6,000 people there) and even a tiny segment of Rancho Mirage where 19 people live.

DWA District Boundary

The map below shows Mission Springs Water District. There are small areas of MSWD that lie outside DWA, and there are areas within MSWD that are not actually part of MSWD, but might be covered by DWA. But to oversimplify a little, you can think of MSWD as lying within DWA.

MSWD Boundary Map

In the 2010 census, the population residing in DWA was 89,317. Divide that by five (there are five directors) and each district, if impossibly perfect, would contain 17,863.4 people. Naturally, after each census, the districts would have to be re-apportioned, just as every population-based district in the U.S. does.

DWA Population Map

Below is the map showing the percentage of the population identified as Latino. On the map was this note: "Asian-Americans and African-Americans are not concentrated in large numbers anywhere in the [district]."

DWA Latino Population Map


The Legal Stuff

Next, Desert Water Agency's Attorney Riddell spoke. The DWA was founded in 1961 by an act of the legislature called "Desert Water Agency Law." This particular law seems not to have been entered into the conveniently searchable online database that one would usually use to delve into California statutes. But I did find a Google Books version that you can read.

Attorney Riddell explained the California Voting Rights Act, including recent amendments that created this system that is pushing many agencies and cities to go to district elections. I covered this briefly in my report on the January MSWD meeting. The essential difference is that Desert Water Agency has received notification from an attorney representing the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, which is why the DWA is actively involved in the process of switching to district elections.

The process first requires two public hearings (this meeting was the second of those), then draft map options are prepared (by a demographer hired for the purpose), then two public hearings on the maps (this is where the real fighting will be), and then a final public hearing where the DWA board will adopt a map of districts.


Yet More Info

Outreach & Conservation Manager Metzger spoke next. The demographer will be the same one used by the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and the Desert Healthcare District.

Ms. Metzger estimated the adoption of the final map would come near the end of summer. [If I were inclined to be paranoid, I'd say they were going to try to slip it by while I'm at Burning Man, but I don't think I actually figure that highly in the local political scene.]

She showed us district maps of some jurisdictions that meet legal and constitutional requirements. The City of Compton and Glendale Unified School District based their districts solely on population.

Compton and Glendale Unified District Maps

Pasadena drew their districts so that every one touched Colorado Boulevard, thereby giving every council member some responsibility for the downtown area. Central Unified School District drew their districts so that every high school district was in the districts of two board members, so that all parents would have two board members they could go to if they had concerns.

Pasadena and Central Unified District Maps

DWA is sharing district election information on their website at DWA.org/divisions, including the maps I've posted here. In the future, that will be where they post the proposed district maps. You can send comments to divisions@DWA.org or contact any DWA Director.


Public Input

This was regular public comments where you could comment on anything DWA-related (or not related, for that matter). The Public Hearing would follow, where comments were to pertain solely to district elections. This simple concept was explained by DWA Board President Joe Stuart in such a way that it left experienced politicians like Karl Baker and Nancy Wright wondering what exactly he had just said. What it boiled down to was that you could get two separate 3-minute comment periods, if you wanted.

Karl Baker spoke first. He said he was long-winded so he would take advantage of both comment opportunities, if he understood President Stuart correctly. He said that drawing the districts did not have to be solely on racial lines, but that communities of interest could be considered as well [as was shown in Pasadena]. He said potential growth should be considered. The Desert Hot Springs area has great potential for growth, while Palm Springs and other cities south of the 10 freeway are pretty well built up. Mr. Baker estimated that the 2020 census might show the population north of the 10 equal in size to the population south of it (within the Desert Water Agency, of course). He encouraged the DWA board to draw the lines so that the area north of the 10 would get two districts, the other three being south of the 10.

Nancy Wright spoke next. She said she agreed with a lot of what Mr. Baker said. She said that based on the volume of wastewater being treated at MSWD's Horton wastewater treatment plant and based on the number of connections and amount of water being sold, MSWD has a sense that the population north of the 10 has grown tremendously since 2010. She also wondered if DWA had tried to reach out to the unincorporated areas around Desert Hot Springs to inform them of this districting process. She wanted also to confirm that after draft maps are drawn, people will be able to comment on them at public hearings.

Ms. Wright thanked the DWA board for being present, saying that it's the first time she is aware that they have been on this side of the 10 in the past 30 years.

A resident of Desert Hot Springs (I couldn't catch her name) spoke next. She expressed her opinion that there should be two districts north of the 10.


Public Hearing

Now the public hearing was open. Yvonne Parks spoke first. She said she had been looking at DWA's Latino population map. She saw that east of Desert Hot Springs there were large areas of purple, indicating a Latino population lower than 25%. Moving west, she saw more pink areas indicating a Latino population of 75% to 100%. Around those were more areas of yellow (65% to 75% Latino) and green (50% to 65% Latino). So her suggestion was to create two districts, one easterly that would include Desert Edge, the other district more westerly with a higher Latino population.

Karl Baker returned to the podium. He suggested Palm Drive be the line between Ms. Parks' suggested east and west districts, but north of Pierson he suggested the line should "take a jog over east" to include an area "that's different than the Hacienda Heights portion of our city." He then spoke of a coming development out along highway 62 that will include 8,500 homes. He said 2,200 of those homes are "active." Then he spoke of the future development at the east end of Pierson which will be about 1,200 homes. There is also an approved condo development that will have about 300 units at Palm Drive and Camino Campañero, he said.

[But the chances of any of these homes being completed, sold and occupied before the 2020 census is very slim, IMO. Those people will have to wait until the redistricting based on the 2030 census.]

Mr. Baker also spoke about the substantial industrial development going on in Desert Hot Springs that would require water. [But would not include any residences, so no population, so it's not very relevant to districting, IMO.]

Nancy Wright came to the podium to say that MSWD's urban water master plan, sewer master plan and the district's water infrastructure master plan would be good references to anticipate areas of expected growth.

President Stuart closed the public hearing and reminded people to follow their website (DWA.org) and social media (Facebook at www.facebook.com/dwawater/) for more information about this districting process.

permalink | February 19, 2019 at 10:14 PM | Comments (5)

January 13, 2019

Desert Hot Springs Planning Commission - January 8, 2019

Selection of Chair and Vice-Chair

Larry Buchanan and Scott De La Torre nominated themselves to serve another year in their respective positions, Chair and Vice-Chair. Approved 4-0.


Development Permit For Five Contemporary Mediterranean Homes In Rolling Hills Estates

Recent history of proposed development by Elyon Development on these five lots:

  • At the November 2018 meeting of the Planning Commission Elyon Development presented their proposal for five mid-century modern homes for these lots. The city planning staff had given erroneous information to Elyon Development earlier, telling them that since there were only five homes, they wouldn't have to bring their proposal before the Planning Commission at all. Later, they were told that they DID have to go before the Planning Commission because it was more than four homes. At the Planning Commission meeting there was strong opposition from the current owners and residents of the incomplete Rolling Hills Estates and for that reason the Planning Commission rejected the proposal.
  • Elyon Development appealed to the City Council and their appeal was heard at the December 12, 2018, City Council meeting. At this hearing the error by city staff was given a different explanation. Now the city said the proposed development of five lots had to come before the Planning Commission because contemporary Mediterranean home designs were included in the original approvals of the tract in 2006 and these proposed mid-century homes conflicted with that. Again there was opposition from the neighbors, but now some of them admitted they opposed the Elyon proposal because the developer had not made much of an effort to contact those neighbors in advance to tell them of his plans. They said they didn't really object to the designs. Others, however, continued to insist that smaller, mid-century modern homes would pull down the value of their contemporary Mediterraneans. The developer provided testimony that his homes would be of a higher quality than the existing homes and that new homes identical to his design were selling for higher prices in Palm Springs. My gut sense is that real estate developers have a better knowledge of the market than others who are not real estate developers, but we're not going to test that here because the City Council voted to uphold the decision of the Planning Commission. They did, however, acknowledge that the error by city staff (the unnamed person they blamed was new and no longer works for the city) had cost the developer unnecessary fees and time, so they directed the City Manager to try to set that right by offsetting Elyon Development's expenses on their other projects in the city.
  • Meanwhile, at the December 11, 2018, Planning Commission, Watermarke Homes presented a proposal to build contemporary Mediterranean homes on 16 other empty lots in Rolling Hills Estates. The approval for that sailed through the Planning Commission slicker than snot.
  • Which brings us to tonight, January 8, where Elyon Development presented its proposal for five contemporary Mediterranean homes on its lots.

No one from the public had any comments on this proposal. With no discussion, the motion was made to approve. The vote to approve was 4-0.


One-Year Extension For DHS Therapeutics

This is a marijuana cultivation site proposal that would be located on Cabot Road about a block south of Two Bunch Palms. The City Council approved four CUPs for the site in February 2017.

One member of the public commented. He began by asking the Commission if any of them smoked marijuana or if any of their kids or wives [sic] smoked marijuana. Chair Buchanan interrupted him to try to explain how public comments work, but the man interrupted Chair Buchanan and said he was asking the questions. Mr. Buchanan continued to explain that none of the Commissioners could respond directly to his questions to which the man responded "Okay, I'm sure none of you smoke marijuana. Not your kids, not grandkids." He wanted to know why they would let it be grown here. Was it intended for some other "junky town," he suggested.

Mr. Buchanan explained the rules of public comments again.

The extension was approved 4-0.


Amendment To CUP For Blue Mango

This concerns a 1.15-acre parcel at 65265 San Jacinto Lane. Previously approved for marijuana cultivation, the developer wants to add manufacturing, extraction, packaging and distribution to its permitted uses.

Approved 4-0.


Vintage Trailer Resort At Aqua Soleil

Aqua Soleil is proposing to replace that rather sad RV facility on its property with a new, upscale vintage trailer resort to be called Air Heart Vintage Trailer Resort. If you've been wondering what it's like to spend a weekend in an Airstream, here's your chance. They propose to ultimately have 32 trailers there. These will function and be taxed the same as hotel rooms. At the same time, incidentally, this provides an opportunity to lock in Aqua Soleil's share of the expense of a future traffic light at Park Lane and Palm Drive.

Diane Powell, Vice President of the homeowners' association at Skys Haven, which is located across Palm Drive from the Aqua Soleil. She was concerned that the traffic created by visitors hauling trailers in and out of this development would be excessive.

It was explained to her by staff that the vintage trailers would be permanently located there, and not creating any traffic issues. In fact, there will be slightly less traffic, since the existing RV park does have trailers coming and going.

Approved 4-0.


CUP For A Health Center In The Vons Shopping Center

The location is 14238 Palm Drive in the Vons shopping center. I believe it's the storefront that used to house Liberty Tax Service. Have you noticed the lack of the Statue of Liberty promotion on Palm Drive there this year?

The applicant calls its business People's Community Clinic and they will provide "FDA approved contraceptive methods and supplies, family planning counseling and education, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, HIV screening, cervical cancer screening, male and female permanent contraception, and limited infertility services." City staff said that they had received one email comment asking if the clinic would provide abortion services. Staff said that the applicant had not said if they would or not. People's Clinic's website suggests they offer complete health services, not just what was listed in the city staff report.

The applicant said they had offices in Hemet, Los Angeles and West Covina. They are a non-profit. He said they would not perform abortions. Hours will be 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Approved 3-0-1. Vice Chair De La Torre abstained, but did not say why.


Amending Housing Ordinances To Conform To State Legislation

Subjects addressed in these amendments include:

  • Identifying a zones where emergency shelters are allowed as a permitted use without a conditional use or other discretionary permit ("by-right zone").
  • Transitional and supportive housing to be considered a residential use subject only to those restrictions that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type in the same zone.
  • Defines "family" as "a group of individuals living together in a dwelling unit as a single housekeeping unit under a common housekeeping management plan based on an internally structured relationship providing organization and stability."
  • To permit "Accessory Dwelling Units" in all residential zones. An ADU must have permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. If there's no kitchen, then it's a "Guest House." ADUs within existing structures must be allowed in all single-family residential zones. If an ADU requires an addition or new structure, then development standards (such as parking, height, lot coverage, lot size and maximum unit size) may be applied.
  • "When a developer agrees to construct the requisite percentage of affordable housing units or child care facilities, the city must grant a density bonus [and] other specified incentive or concessions to the developer." Incentives or concessions are (1) reduction in site development standards or modification of zoning code or architectural design requirements, such as a reduction in setback or minimum square footage requirements; or (2) approval of mixed use zoning; or (3) other regulatory incentives or concessions which actually result in identifiable and actual cost reductions.
  • The city cannot block manufactured homes (that meet the building code) from being erected on residential lots [imagine how that would go over in Rolling Hills Estates].

Attorney Mizrahi explained that this will all come back before the Planning Commission again in 6 to 8 months as part of the General Plan update.

Chair Buchanan moved for approval. Vice Chair De La Torre seconded "provided that we add the additional parking space" by which he meant, I believe, that the city could still require an additional off-street paved parking space when an ADU is constructed...subject to state law. Approved 4-0.

These revisions now go to the City Council for their final approval.

permalink | January 13, 2019 at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2018

MSWD Board Meetings, December 13 & 17, 2018

This is a report on the Mission Springs Water District Board of Director meeting that took place on December 13 and 17, 2018. Same agenda both meetings.


Swearing In Of Steve Grasha

General Director Arden Wallum swore in Steve Grasha as the new director. I couldn't help but notice, since I had seen three swearings-in at the city council meeting the night before, that while City Clerk Soriano only requires the new official to say "I will" or "I do" whenever he pauses, Mr. Wallum wants a complete repetition when he does the swearing in.

Then after the swearing in was complete—crickets. Well, one staffer made a little bit of applause, but the rest of public (a pretty good number for a water district meeting) and the board remained silent. The usual round of congratulatory handshakes was dispensed with.


Public Comments

Judy Bowman came to the podium and said...

My name is Judy Bowman. For the past nine years it has been my privilege to get to know you Directors, to know the staff, pleased to know people here at Mission Springs Water District. It's also been my privilege to have a front seat watching my husband demonstrate his dedication to the community and to service. You guys have been a team that works together. You don't always agree, but you know how to work out your disagreements civilly and respect each other.

Steve Grasha, I am grateful for this opportunity to actually see you face to face, but I simply cannot stay silent. I've never seen you before. This is really rare in a political campaign. You've never been out in public. So I wanted to tell you face to face, Steve, if you would look at me, 'Shame on you.' Throughout the campaign you hid behind your keyboard, blasting out false accusations on an almost daily basis. You never came out in public. After years of running for many offices - any office - you finally came up with a political strategy to fool the electorate and to get votes. you have not demonstrated any care of what the office is. You've never demonstrated any care about Mission Springs Water District. It doesn't seem to matter to you that your campaign was full of false credentials, false accusations, fear-mongering over nonexistent issues and outright lies and slander. You do not deserve a seat on this board. It's one thing to exaggerate and outright lie about your own qualifications, but quite another to make up stories. You personally slandered me. You personally slandered my husband. You publicly accused him of felony crimes of the most heinous nature. You've never offered any proof, but somehow you managed to fool the electorate with keyboard courage. Shame on you. You are not an honorable man. And this community will not forget your lies and your [unintelligible]. Thank you.

Jeff Bowman spoke next. He has posted the video of his comment on YouTube.

I will apologize right up front, I've had several of our public yield their time to me, so I can get my full statement out, Mr. President.

The office of Director of Mission Springs Water District is critical to the people of the district. They depend on directors to represent them as you provide, protect and preserve their most valuable resource - water. My comments today are not those of a sore loser, but rather from a concerned and committed citizen to this city and district.

Steve Grasha, my first contact with you was when you were seeking to fill the vacancy left by the late John Furbee. When you came to this podium you sort of slaundered up, leaned on the podium and said 'I haven't had time to prepare for this position.' And I thought to myself, good lord, you're running for a significant place in this community in leadership and you haven't had the chance to prepare. You were not chosen that day because the public deserved better. When you supplied the information to the board for that particular office you listed an RV park as your residence. It is technically in the district boundaries, but on a master meter [one meter for the entire RV park], thus I concluded at that time that you have never paid a bill to MSWD. And I believe you still haven't to this very day. The public deserves somebody that actually pays a water bill like they do.

When you started your campaign you said typical political exaggerations, like 'we are poisoning our children because of chrome-6.' These things, as stupid as they were, are par for often campaigns. But then you went further. I've been in this community for fifteen years running my award-winning spa. I love the town and the district, having served thousands of hours in community service. Because I love my community, I have assisted many folks. One such woman was Donna Poyuzina. Donna found herself in a homeless situation and I reached out to her, offering her a place in one of my condos for rent. You took that information and you spun it 180°. You said, and I quote, 'The poorest people of Desert Hot Springs have been used and manipulated for too long with the likes of the current MSWD board that takes so many millions from us, only to redistribute that power and money back to their favorite friends and supporters and special interest golddiggers by giving them free houses at our expense.'

Shame on you, Steve, for taking my love and kindness and equating it with greed and power. Yes, I helped a friend who was in need and needed a place to stay. That's how love works. And, you know what? It also shows how a director should act with love and compassion to the community in which they live and serve.

But you didn't stop there. You not only picked on me, but also my award-winning business, Living Waters Spa. You wrote, 'Whenever he talks he creepily mentions the old widow ladies what a great masseuse he is and he invited the lonely widows to his nudist colony. He's a sick creeper that should not be allowed near children or by lonely old women.' Shame on you, Steve.

Then you pick on my wife. You said, 'He'll be asking you if you can bring a friend for his wife to share the experience with. He will film it and sell it to Chinese porn sites. He's a disgusting pervert.' And, you know what, Steve? That wasn't enough. You stepped over the line even further. You sent an email to the entire database of registered voters with the headline 'Child Porn Photo of MSWD Director Jeff Bowman Appears Online Followed by Massive Sex Offender Raid on Desert Hot Springs by Riverside County District Attorney and Multiple State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.' You wrote that. You took a picture of a wedding that was held at my spa, a very sacred event, I may say. A picture I used years ago to promote nudist weddings. You took and spun it 180° from the purity it was. You portrayed it as child porn. Everybody was appalled at this outrageous lie. Even the chief of police with whom you then chose to debate on Facebook, was blown away by your libelous statements and wrote an email - he did - wrote an email defending my integrity.

One week after the election, November 13, our local newspaper and NBC station finally documented your frequent racist, violent and angry posts that you have made on Twitter and Facebook. These were not political things. These come from a heart that's bad. They documented your involvement with the court system, how you were charged with two counts of felony stalking and one felony count of making death threats in 2013. They document some, but not all the numerous lawsuits that had been leveled against you during your adult life because of your poor character. Had the Desert Sun or NBC Palm Springs done this reporting the month you filed your paperwork, the public would have known the real Steve Grasha and you would have not fooled them into voting for you.

Steve, I'm not going anywhere. I'll continue to run my award-winning mineral spa. I'll continue to pay MSWD bills. I'll continue to volunteer in my community to make it better. And I will retire here. The character you exhibited during the campaign does not befit the office to which you were elected. Your MO has been to take innocent actions and turn them 180°, distorting the truth just like you distorted the truth of your own qualifications and experience. For a fact, the voters did not know these things or they would have not voted for you.

My comments today come from a heart of a concerned and committed citizen to the city and district. Steve, the people you have fooled are going to be the ones who will judge you in your actions. They are holding you to a standard that you've never demonstrated in your entire life.

You, Steve Grasha, are not fit for public office.

Thank you, Mr. President, for allowing me to have that extra time.

Chelsea Vivian spoke next:

I am new to this community, however, I have been coming here for five years as a client of Jeff and Judy Bowman and their Living Waters Spa. I'm not a nudist, actually. I am a woman who suffers from something called psoriatic arthritis. This causes huge sores all over my body. Sometimes covered up to 30 to 40 percent of my skin's surface when stressors trigger this. There's very expensive medications that can help remedy this. But there is one medicine given to me by God that cures my skin and that is sunlight. The transition from the sun hitting my skin to the production of vitamin D heals psoriasis. And unfortunately, the psoriasis likes to go into places where bathing suits cover. So I chronically sought places in my life where I can safely and comfortably lay out in the sun in the nude where nobody will bother me. Knowing the waters of Desert Hot Springs, knowing the mineral waters, that is another healing aspect to arthritis. As you all probably know this is a mecca for [unintelligible]. So I hit the internet and I looked for places that were clothing optional and there were a few options. A couple that I clearly wouldn't be comfortable with given my personal choices. But there was one that rose to the surface. There was one that kind of said this is a very comfortable environment. So I called up one day and I ended up speaking to Jeff and he quizzed me and I quizzed him back and I felt okay, this is a place that I can be comfortable at. So I came and we all got to know each other. They learned that I had lost about my entire family and that the stressors that were engaged in my life at that time. Since then I have not only been a client, I have become a very close friend of Jeff and Judy Bowman's. I know dozens upon dozens of their clients that come there, many of them for the same reasons. I have come to know their family. I have come to know their friends here in Desert Hot Springs and I am astounded at what upstanding and amazing human beings they are. And what they have provided, the Living Waters Spa is not a place for nudists to go hang out - I mean, yeah, it is - for me, it's a safe harbor. It was a place where I was given the opportunity to lay out, get my medicine, and not be ridiculed. Even at other gyms and other places when I go in a bathing suit I get stares when I have to show that part of my body. I've had people get uncomfortable about me going into a pool with them because they think I'm contagious because they are not educated about my condition. I experienced none of that with Jeff and Judy.

So, Steve Grasha, I am deeply offended at the smear that you put upon them. And I would like to say that you should feel ashamed of yourself, but I would like [unintelligible] on this planet to feel shame because that is only a curse that you would have to suffer that would continue and perpetuate these force of actions. But I can say in looking at you is that you already have shame if you have to take this course of action to get elected to a seat on a water board. So, congratulations, you have really shown us all how dirty and ugly people can be.

Margaret Web spoke next:

I've been a resident of California since 2007. I've been part of the political life, you may say, for thirty years with the Kennedys, with my mom growing up with [unintelligible], I got a chance to know a lot of politicians in my life. It's a dirty game. People slandering people. People making up lies, all the way up to the presidency. It's not about slander or smut, because I've had my smut in my life. I've had to deal with people looking at me not because of sores, but because of the color of my skin, thinking that my black skin's going to wipe off on them if they get in the pool after me. So I can feel you on that.

[The board President reminded her to address her remarks to the board.]

Yes, I will. I'll do that. Okay thank you, Mr. President, thank you for telling me that, Randy. This is my first time speaking here. I love Mission Springs Water District. Every time I have an event I can come here and I can get water for my babies. I feed the homeless.

You guys here, you make a part of what I do happen. So I didn't come here to talk about anybody. I came here to thank you guys for being here for our community. Because for me, that's what it's about. As long as you guys can sit there and you do your job, when I get ready to come in here and I need you or you know I'm there, if you need me, then that's what makes a beautiful community. It's not about the past. It's about us living in the future. We've got to push forward. We've got to do more. And I'm not going to take any more of your time because I've got to go run to the hospital. I've got a sick baby I've got to go visit. Y'all be blessed.

Donna Wardine spoke next:

I've lived in Desert Hot Springs for nineteen years Christmas Day. I love my city. I moved here for the water. When I came here I went to water college which MSWD used to make available to citizens. I just want to say that, understanding that one of the members of your board, Steve Grasha, has run and been elected under false pretenses, I would just like to say that I am 100% behind the Bowmans, and I did not appreciate your inattention to the speakers. I thought that was exceedingly rude. Very unbusinesslike, as well. The smirk on your face is insulting to all of us. All of us. And you, sir, are a piece of work. I don't appreciate your lies, either.

Pastor Kephyan Sheppard spoke next:

I'm a local resident here. I wasn't going to say anything. I kind of like to stay quiet in the back. I just wanted, first of all, Mr. Bowman is extremely integral in all his dealings with me, with our church community. Anytime we've had an issue, I've been able to call him, pull on his coattail and get resolution quick. To see that he lost the election was one thing, but to see the way the election was lost was another. I have no personal problems with Mr. Grasha, however the way that campaign was run with a clear lack of integrity, slander, false accusations, I just don't think that that's the type of individual that we should have representing our water board. I don't know what all the procedures are. I'm not really involved with it. But what I can say is that anyone in leadership in this capacity should show a clear pathway of integrity. And what I saw during the election just was not fair. And, for me, I think it would go a long way if you were even able to apologize to Mr. Bowman publicly, because you disrespected him publicly. I think that's the way a public official should carry themselves. Now the election was done. I don't know if anything can be done about that. But as someone who's going to represent this city going forward, it would go a long way to show just an ounce of character to say, you know what, things that I said were not true, I apologize or anything. But I think that's the way to move forward. Because right now, it's real bad. Thank you.


Annual Report From The District's Washington Lobbyist

Our Washington lobbyist used to be Thane Young who was with the firm of Van Scoyoc. From the conversation between the Directors and Laura Morgan-Kessler, I pieced together that she had worked with Mr. Young at Van Scoyoc and sometime a year or more ago Mr. Young retired. Ms. Morgan-Kessler left Van Scoyoc and MSWD followed her to her new firm, Carpi and Clay Government Relations. You can see on their website that they represent many California-based agencies, including Indio Water Authority, San Diego County Water Authority, Santa Clara Valley Water District and Long Beach Water Department.

Since 1995 MSWD has received grants from Riverside County totalling $823,000, the federal government for $11 million and the State of California for $23 million. The district's population currently is about 37,600. These grants amount to more than $926 per capita. That's $926 each district resident did NOT have to pay to MSWD.

Ms. Morgan-Kessler said that over the years MSWD has built up a very strong positive reputation on Capitol Hill and with the Army Corps of Engineers. She said there is a lot of discussion in Congress about removing the ban on earmarks in appropriations bills. For this to happen, both the House and Senate would have to agree to do so.

Director Grasha asked when and what was the last example of funding we got via earmarks. Ms. Morgan-Kessler said that would have been in 2009 when we got a grant for the septic to sewer conversion program. Mr. Grasha pointed out that Jerry Lewis was our Congressional Representative then and he was chair of the House Appropriations Committee.


Anual Report of Capacity Fees and Related Capital Expenditures

This is an annual report required by law which, I suppose, is intended to ferret out agencies who collect high fees and then do little to nothing with them. In FY 2018 the district collected $176,240 in connection fees and spent $477,932.10 in capital expenditures. From the beginning of the report (1989) the district has collected $19,255,258.11 in connection fees and spent $33,121,659.63 in capital expenditures. To summarize, you're getting more than you pay for.


Award of Contract for Horton Wastewater Treatment Plant Infiltration Pond Expansion

With fewer septic tanks and more sewer connections, sewage flow at Horton has increased sufficiently to justify construction of three new infiltration ponds there. Effluent is allowed to rest in the infiltration ponds to gradually seep into the ground, eventually making its way back to the aquifer after being cleaned the natural way.

There were three bids Tryco General Engineering for $170,669, Tri-Star Contracting for $180,775, and Jones Bros. Construction for $199,354. Staff recommended awarding the contract to Tryco. Approved 5-0.


Acceptance of Willow Hole Groundwater Monitoring Wells Project

When MSWD joined the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan the district agreed to install two monitoring wells near the mesquite hummocks that run along the Banning branch of the San Andreas fault. One of the wells is along Palm Drive, just south of 20th. The other is on Mountain View 4,100 feet south of 20th. The wells extend to a depth of about 80 feet and cost $60,699.75, total. Funding came from a grant from the Coachella Valley Mountains Conservancy. Today's vote was to release the final payment of $3,034.99. Approved 5-0.


West Garnet Avenue Water Line Reimbursement Agreement

When KW Palm Springs built the new FedEx facility on Garnet Avenue west of Indian, along I-10, they had to put in a larger water main 2,235 feet long from Indian. They paid $858,861.82 for it, and it passes in front of undeveloped lots. When those lots are developed and connect to the water main, MSWD will collect a fee that includes $192.14 per foot of pipe in front of that development. MSWD will then turn around reimburse KW Palm Springs 80% of that. This item on the agenda is authorize a 10-year agreement between MSWD and KW Palm Springs for this. After the agreement expires, MSWD will no longer reimburse KW Palm Springs. Approved 5-0.


Solar Plant

It's still not online. It's all in the hands of Edison now. In the coming week Edison is supposed to perform a "witness test," which should be last step before final authorization.


I-10/Indian Sewer Collection System Financing District

There are 140 parcels totaling 695.5 acres. 51 parcel owners have returned surveys. Five owners representing about $670,000 in total assessed value) are opposed. One of those five owners represents over $500,000 in assessed value. 46 owners representing about $1,200,000 are in support. But 89 property owners (almost $8 million) still have not responded to the survey. So it's 13% yes, 7% no and 80% we don't know yet.

The financing of the construction of the sewer collection system is entirely the responsibility of the property owners in that area. If they never approve it, development of their properties will be far more difficult and expensive, if they can develop at all.


Election of Officers

Director Wright nominated Director Duncan to serve another year as President. Approved 5-0. Then Director Wright nominated Director Martin to serve another year as Vice President. Approved 5-0.


General Manager's Report

A car hit a fire hydrant in Mission Lakes. Rumors abounded that it took MSWD hours to shut off the water, but this is not correct. MSWD responded and had the hydrant shut off in less than half an hour. However, in the same accident, the car also took out a Mission Lakes backflow prevention device, and it was Mission Lakes' responsibility to shut off the water flow that resulted from that. It took a lot longer.


Director Comments

Steve Grasha said, "Well, I guess I could thank the voters for their confidence. Pretty big turnout, I guess. The largest percent of votes ever received by a Director, 35%. First person to ever defeat a certain incumbent who called me 'creepy' on a Friday after, so I thought I'd react to that and let people know what creepy actually was. Just so you have that out of the way, that's what happened there. So I'm looking forward to spreading my wings a little bit on this board and doing the job people elected me to do. And I want them to know that their vote was not misplaced, regardless of what they might hear from those who weren't as successful as they would have liked to have been. Thank you."

At the Monday meeting, Mr. Grasha said, "Well, I have a whole list of things I could talk about, but in the interest of decorum and good citizenship I think I will pass until maybe a future date."

Nancy Wright said the election turnout was the biggest ever for MSWD because this is the first time the district elections have coincided with the general election.


Epilogue

Immediately after the Thursday study session adjourned on Thursday, a man from the audience went up to Mr. Grasha at the dais, handed him some paper and said "You've been served." I suppose people who have been waiting to serve Mr. Grasha with papers will be pleased to be able to find him in a specific location at least twice a month.

permalink | December 19, 2018 at 05:48 PM | Comments (1)

December 8, 2018

Goat Canyon Trestle

Wikipedia article about Goat Canyon Trestle.

Scott C. led me on a hike to the Goat Canyon Trestle in 2014, but I've only recently posted the photos to Flickr. We hiked in the "easy" but longer way, following a mostly flat route from Dos Cabezos, across desert, to the railroad near Tunnel 20. From there, we hiked the railroad to the trestle, which comes just before Tunnel 15. The acceptable, standard way to hike in without hiking on the railroad as much requires one to take a straighter, but more difficult hike up and over the mountains.

You can also hike from the clothing optional resort at DeAnza Springs which is near I-8. From there you will be hiking uphill to the trestle. On the route we took, we hiked slightly downhill to the trestle...and then had to hike uphill on our way out. A few of the photos:

08.02.33 Dos Cabezas
The water tower at Dos Cabezas
. You can drive to this point. The railroad is right there, but if you follow it, you will go on a loop that makes your hike even longer. It's shorter to hike cross desert to Tunnel 20.

09.03.53 Carrizo Gorge Hike

09.48.56 Carrizo Gorge Railway
Tunnel 20
. This is where we started hiking on the railroad.

10.25.04 Carrizo Gorge Railway - First View of Goat Canyon Trestle noted
Our first small trestle and our first view of the mighty Goat Canyon Trestle.

10 41 33 Carrizo Gorge Railway
There are some wrecked railroad cars resting downhill from the railroad.

10 47 49 Carrizo Gorge Railway Tunnel 18
Tunnel 18
.

11 07 26 Carrizo Gorge Railway Tunnel 17
Tunnel 17
.

11 21 58 Goat Canyon Trestle
Goat Canyon Trestle
.

12 19 45 Goat Canyon Trestle

11 40 39 Goat Canyon Trestle

11 37 10 Goat Canyon Trestle

13 25 36 Carrizo Gorge Railway (2)

Carrizo Gorge Aerial Annotated
The red line is the railroad
. The purple line is an approximation of the cross-desert route we took to Tunnel 20. The green line is the proper, standard, more difficult way to hike in.

The complete set of photos.

Scott's photos.

permalink | December 8, 2018 at 12:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2018

U.S.-Mexico Border Flyover

From the Washington Post. The 3D map is annotated and shows where walls and fences have been constructed.

permalink | October 24, 2018 at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2018

Box Canyon Flood

Box Canyon Road was flooded out twice this month, the second flood being far greater magnitude than any flood I've seen on that road. Check out the video:

Coachella Canal - Cleveland Street Branch to Salton Sea (1181)
This is a photo I took in 2007
showing the drainage channel going from the Coachella Canal (foreground) to the Salton Sea (background). The drainage channel can be used to send excess water from the canal into the Salton Sea, but I haven't heard of that option being used in the 15 years I've lived here. The farmers can use all the water they get. The drainage channel actually extends under the canal so that it can also carry runoff from the Mecca Hills (behind me as I took this photo) to the Salton Sea. Otherwise, all the rain that falls on the Mecca Hills will simply pool next to the canal, eventually undermining it.

So the huge flood from Box Canyon Road (or as much of it as possible) squeezed through this opening (also photographed in 2007):
Drain Passing Under the Coachella Canal (5027)

Before the flood could get to the Salton Sea it had to pass under 70th Avenue as well as the railroad and highway 111. The panorama below shows where the flood hit 70th Avenue:
70th & Cleveland, North Shore, California (1958)
Not only was the bridge destroyed, but the entire concrete drainage channel is simply gone.

Below is a closer view of the 70th Avenue bridge. Those are date palms along the road with their fruit wrapped in cloth bags to protect it from birds.
70th & Cleveland, North Shore, California (5671)

permalink | October 18, 2018 at 09:09 PM | Comments (3)

September 11, 2018

El Capitan State Beach

When I was at El Capitan State Beach with Great Outdoors Santa Barbara I walked what used to be the paved bike path from El Capitan to Refugio State Beach. Part of the route has eroded away, so much so that the path is closed, although pedestrians still hike along the closed portion.

Aniso Trail (1)

Refugio State Beach (0095)
Refugio State Beach
.

Offshore Oil Drilling Warning System (0075)
Sirens for the offshore drilling platforms
.

El Capitan State Beach (0090)

Aniso Trail flower (0080)

Aniso Trail (0094)

Aniso Trail (0086)

Aniso Trail (0077)

Aniso Trail (0079)

See the complete set of photos here.

permalink | September 11, 2018 at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2018

LAWNBR 2018 Video Slideshow - ThiEYE Camera

Here's the third of the slideshows of my photos from the Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride back in June.

permalink | August 12, 2018 at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2018

Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride 2018

The Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride for 2018 took place on June 23. They do it in two loops, the first loop being shorter than the second loop. The day started out completely overcast with a bit of drizzle, temps in the 70s, despite trans-100 temperatures back home in the desert.

I've accumulated a number of action cameras and knew this would be a good opportunity to do some comparisons while getting a ton of photos of the other riders. The complete set of photos is here.

I used four action cameras:

  • ThiEYE (link to photos) on my helmet, facing rearwards for both loops.
  • Lightdow (link to photos) on the handlebars facing forward during the first loop.
  • GitUp (link to photos) on the handlebars facing forward during the second loop.
  • And GoPro Hero4 Silver (link to photos) mounted above the rear wheel facing rearwards for both loops.

As you will see, quality was all over the place, but the GoPro tended to do the best under the varying lighting conditions. The full sun came out on the second loop.

I have prepared video slideshows of the photos from each camera, but I've only uploaded two three. Due to upload limitations at Vimeo, I won't upload the others until sometime in September. Here are links to the two three that are up:

Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride 2018 - Lightdow Camera.


Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride 2018 - GitUp Camera.


Los Angeles World Naked Bike Ride 2018 - ThiEYE Camera.

They both all end when their batteries died. The GoPro had the longest battery life. It was the only camera still running at the end of the first loop. It ran far longer on the second loop than the other cameras, but died just as we came to the intersection of Silver Lake and Sunset Boulevards. Next year I think I may try hooking it up to a USB battery so I can actually photograph the entire ride (for the first time ever).

Below are some of the more interesting shots, IMO.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (105605)
That's Rocky and his husband.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (103820)
This guy happened to park next to me
. It was his first WNBR.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (105923)
This guy stayed dressed like this for the whole ride
. The ride is clothing optional and a lot of riders wear some clothing, but to be 100% dressed in serious bike rider drag on a fun ride like this seemed weird. Creepy almost. He certainly looks uncomfortable to me.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (110116)
There were a number of Metro Bikes in use
. Some riders covered the seat as they are supposed to; some didn't.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (110724)
This little guy rode the first loop only and was our only child rider
. Usually, we have a few kids, but only one this year. He was accompanied by at least four adults and it looked like they must go on rides together quite a bit. He was a good rider and communicated well with those around him.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (110619A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (110622A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111110)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111124)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111152)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111506)
The LAWNBR is conducted with the close cooperation and supervision of the LAPD
. In prior years they would run us "like a funeral" (in their terminology), meaning they stopped traffic for us at most intersections and gave us right of way. The downside of that is the line of naked riders would stretch out further and further as the faster riders at the front left the slower riders behind, so occasionally the cops would stop all the riders until everybody had caught up. That could mean standing in the street for 10 or 15 minutes sometimes. This year, we were supposed to handle intersections as just ordinary vehicles, with a few exceptions. So a lot of the photos here are shot while we are waiting for a light to turn green. Once we got to Sunset Boulevard on the second loop, and we began the long straight run back to the end of the ride, the cops stopped traffic for us at almost every intersection. Maybe we were behind schedule.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111658)
Spiderman's costume lasted the length of the ride pretty well
. Sometimes full body paint shows some wear and bare spots before we get to the end.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (111936)
That's Ed
.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (112118)
You get to see more than just naked bike riders while doing the LAWNBR.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (112236)
Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions building
.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (112454A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114106A)
This guy.
I had a brief discussion with another rider about whether the guy knew he had a glaring typo in his sign.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114130)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (113244)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (113654) Anthony Quinn-Victor Clothing Co mural
The Victor Clothing mural with Anthony Quinn.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (113748)
Passing the Bradbury Building.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (113934)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (112800)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114439)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114504)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114706)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (114748)
Coming up on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (115029)
Waiting at a light near the LADWP.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (115139)
Between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Disney Hall.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134754)
Electric skateboard.
He wasn't with us at the end of the ride, so maybe his battery ran out.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134759)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134529)
The double-wheeled bike on the right is supposed to float better on sand, the rider said.
He brought it from Florida. I have to admit, he never got stuck in any sand during the naked bike ride.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134319A)
Couldn't find matching shoes or saddle, I guess.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134339)
The guy on the phone would later be seen drinking a foamy beverage from a brown bottle.
He must've had a supply in his backpack.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134513)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (115234) Disney Hall - Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (115454A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (133731)
The second loop begins.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (134119A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (135318)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (135539)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (135738A)
Metro Bike with seat covered.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (135752A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (140038) Union Station
Passing Union Station.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (140142) Union Station

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (141534)
We didn't get to go right up the middle of Chinatown this year.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (141502)
The Los Angeles State Historic Park has re-opened.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (141632A)
This bright red seat might work for that other guy with the bright red trim.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143032)
Jim practicing to be a North Korean dictator.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143126)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143150A)
Just so you know I'm not the only nerd on the ride.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143416)
The passengers on the Amtrak bus from Oxnard get a special greeting.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143456)
These two followed me though an intersection on a yellow light, so for several blocks I had almost nothing to photograph behind me but them.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (143938)
They held us all at the rotary where we enter the Los Angeles River Greenway Trail.


In the several years I've done the LAWNBR we've approached this intersection from just about every angle, both on sidewalk and on pavement, due to construction. But, finally, all construction is complete. We approached it from North San Fernando Road this year.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144121)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144254A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144139)
Out of the rotary and onto the bike trail.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144233)
Dodger Stadium is up on the other side of that hill.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144333)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144616A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (144745)
We often see kayakers on the Los Angeles River
and water birds, but I don't recall seeing geese before.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (145728)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (150045)
A major stopping point on the L.A. River bikepath.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (150350)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (151434)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (154238)
This is where they hold us after we exit the bikepath.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (154308)
These guys with matching skin tones and bikes.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (155605)
I think L.A. Tourism should adopt this rider as their new "Welcome To Los Angeles" maiden.
Postcards, posters, billboards. They'd love her in Iowa.

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (155645A)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (155710)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (160225)

L.A. World Naked Bike Ride 2018 (161015)
It's Los Angeles.

permalink | August 6, 2018 at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2018

DHS Planning Commission, May 8, 2018

New Commish
The meeting began with the swearing in of new Commissioner James Nindel. This is Mayor Matas' appointment to replace Dirk Voss. Mr. Nindel's application for the position tells us he has lived in DHS for only 9 months. He retired from USAID's Office of Procurement. He has not been on a city board in any city before now. He moved here from St. Augustine, Florida. He said in his cover letter "I believe that DHS should demand (through code enforcement) that boarded-up windows be immediately repaired and bars taken down and replaced with electronic security systems. The trash on vacant lots between buildings on Palm Drive should be picked-up by the land owners and businesses."

The four other Planning Commissioners are Jan Pye (Chair), Peter De la Torre (Vice Chair), Larry Buchanan, and Gary Gardner.


Amendment to the CUP for Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility

The CUP was originally approved in November 2015. They want to convert 854 s.f. of their operations that were previously a secure storage room and a packaging room to a distribution area. This should not make any difference in their tax payments to the city. The address of the property is 13310 Little Morongo Road, the place with a lot of greenhouses.

Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility (1)


Snider Cannabis Cultivation Facility (2)


After no testimony and no discussion at all, the amendment was approved unanimously.

If I understand correctly, the Planning Commission has final say on CUPs for marijuana businesses, so this decision does not have to be approved by the city council.


Amendment to the CUP for Maraparm DHS California

Maraparm DHS California wants to increase the size of their proposed facility from from 20,664 s.f. to 21,697 s.f. and to rotate the building to take better advantage of the sunlight. Their facility will be located on 15th Street (currently dirt) between Little Morongo and Cabot Road (also dirt there). Their CUP was originally approved in September 2017.

This facility will also have greenhouses. In the original plan the greenhouses were north of the building that will hold all functions other than growing. This very sensible proposal is to rotate the plan 180°, so the building will not cast a shadow on the greenhouses. (Kinda makes you wonder how it ended up the other way to start with.)

The cultivation area of the building will be 17,360 s.f. and will generate $218,600 in cultivation tax revenue annually for the city.

The facility will be on septic until sewers are put in there, but the septic itself is only for ordinary waste. Wastewater from cultivation itself has to be contained separately and not put into the ground.

After no testimony and extremely little discussion by the commissioners, approved unanimously.


Sign Variance for the Harborside Facility

Here is an interesting item, finally. Harborside, the very well known cannabis business in Oakland, will be running the dispensary to be built behind the Arco station at Palm Drive and Paul Road, next to the I-10 interchange. Their CUP was among the very first approved in the city, and it's taken quite a while to get to this stage.

Harborside has very high name recognition among cannabis aficionados.

Founded in 2006 by Steve DeAngelo, Harborside is the most respected and largest cannabis dispensary in the United States. Harborside has over 200,000 registered consumers and was first in the nation to support education for seniors, veterans and families with severely ill children; first in the country to offer CBD-rich cannabis; and the first to treat children with Dravet syndrome. Harborside continues to set an example of diversity and compliance, and is one of the prime advocates of diversity, sustainability and economic justice in the industry.

The sign will display Harborside's logo only, shown below. No green cross; no marijuana leaf.

Harborside Logo

The overall proposed height is 70 feet. Harborside proposed a 200 s.f. sign rated to withstand 160 MPH winds. City code would require only that the sign withstand 130 MPH winds. The usual height limit for a sign of this type in DHS is 25 feet and the maximum sign area limit is usually 125 s.f. So, Harborside is asking for a variance to allow this sign. A monument sign and the sign mounted on the building were also included in this package. The neighboring Arco sign is 49 feet high and 156 s.f. The Arco sign is further from the highway than the proposed Harborside sign, so the bridge there does not block the view of it. The Harborside sign needs to be higher to avoid being blocked by the bridge.

In the site plan shown below I've highlighted I-10 at the lower left as well as the two possible sites for the sign ("Second Choice" won out). Paul Road runs left to right across the top of this image.

Harborside Site Plan
(click for a higher res image)

City staff had proposed reducing the sign size to 160 s.f., but the developer said that it takes so long for a sign like this to be made, they have already ordered it at 200 s.f. The difference in size is not great and if the city insists on the 160 s.f. sign, there will be a delay for some months and extra expense for the developer. It takes 14 weeks from the time it is ordered for the final sign to be delivered. The dispensary's owner said they had done a survey of signs along interstates and 200 s.f. was the biggest they saw, and they saw a lot of them. The sign costs nearly $100,000. He expects 80% of their business to come from those who do not reside in DHS.

They hope to open in July 2018, but it may be early August.

A motion was made to approve subject to moving the sign back away from the highway to the "Second Choice" location as shown on the site map above, and keeping the 200 s.f. sign. Approved unanimously.


Streamlined Process For Amending Entitlements For Cannabis Cultivators

Cultivators, if they want to include manufacturing or distributing or testing facilities, have to come back to the city to get their CUP revised. Normally, this would mean a return to the Planning Commission which is expensive and takes time. Last year an ordinance changed this process so that if they wanted to convert some of their area to manufacturing (and they are in good standing in relation to the city), then city staff could make the revision without a trip to the Planning Commission. The proposed ordinance before the Planning Commission this night was to do the same for distribution and testing.

Ryan Fingerhut from High Road Consulting Group rose to comment in favor of this ordinance. He added, however, that the city also needs to revise their ordinances to permit testing facilities in the commercial zones.

Moved, seconded and approved unanimously with no changes.

permalink | May 16, 2018 at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2018

Nixon Library

Photos from my visit to the Nixon Library a couple of weeks ago.

Nixon Museum Entryway
This video shows the corridor through which you enter the museum
with iconic images of the troubled '60s on both walls, leading to what I suppose is intended as the solution to all of the problems: Nixon. I added the music which is "Scene II: Interlude" from Orpheus by Stravinsky.

1972 Electoral Vote Map (9047)
The 1972 electoral votes
. I'd forgotten that in addition to Massachusetts, McGovern also carried the District of Columbia.

Apollo 11 Memorabilia (0028)
A moon rock and the phone Nixon used to talk to the astronauts
. I tried, but couldn't get, a clear shot of buttons attached the phone. They're for different extensions in the White House and were labeled "Haldemanm," "Ehrlichman" and so on.

Little Red Book (2609)
Can you believe it?
Right there in the Nixon Library a copy of Mao's Little Red Book.

Marine One (1826)

Nixon Birthplace & Childhood Home (0037)
Nixon birthplace and childhood home
. It is still in the exact location and with the same orientation as when Nixon's father built it.

Nixon Library (0040)
View of the library from the Nixon home.

Nixon Library Entrance Lobby (1829)

Sock It To Em button (0033)
Nixon wore this button on his Whittier College letter jacket.
I was very surprised that he was so far ahead of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. If you are old enough, you surely remember these six seconds from that show:

The 18½ Minute Gap (0031)
They had a substantial exhibit about Watergate that did not try to whitewash the scandal
. I have already listened to the 18½ minute gap, so I skipped this part of the exhibit. They had a display showing the locations of microphones used by FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, LBJ and Nixon. Nixon had WAAAAAY more than any other President and was the only President who put a recording device in the President's office at Camp David.

Casualties Report From January 1969 (0025)
Casualty report from Vietnam for January 20, 1969.
Do you recall these casualty reports being delivered to the public weekly on national news? Every time there was some number of Americans killed, then the number of ARVN (south Vietnam) soldiers killed would be something much larger than the American number, and finally the number of Viet Cong and NVA (North Vietnam) would be a astronomically higher than either of the other two. For example, for the current week shown in this photo there were 185 Americans killed, 336 ARVN and 2,742 VC and NVA. I think if you add up all the reported numbers killed for the VC and NVA throughout the entire war it would indicate every resident of North Vietnam had died at least twice.

Bob Dole Quote (1286)
Everybody's entitled to their opinion.

A Turning Point In History (0032)
How might history be different if someone had bought him some train tickets?

The complete set of photos can be seen here.

permalink | April 13, 2018 at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2018

Marijuana Sales Are Way Up

The West Hollywood location of MedMen (a marijuana dispensary) reported big increases in both revenue and customer traffic in January 2018. Revenues in January 2018 were 200% higher than in December 2017 and 500% higher than in January 2017. Customer traffic in January 2018 was also up 200% compared to December 2017 and 350% higher than in January 2017.

There were also large increases at their Santa Ana location.

permalink | February 7, 2018 at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2018

Mountain Lion P23 Killed

This is the female mountain lion who hangs out in Malibu Canyon which is where the CMEN gatherings are. She was hit by a vehicle.
P23 eating deer on Mulholland Highway
This photo of P23 feeding on roadkill on Mulholland Highway got a lot of press a few years ago
.

permalink | February 2, 2018 at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2017

Palm Springs Panorama from 2001

Coachella Valley - Kodachrome - 2001
In 2001 I shot this panorama with Kodachrome from the intersection of San Luis Rey and Sky Point Drive. Today that would put me immediately between Lowes and Walmart on Ramon Road.
In this photo Lowes would be on the right end of the photo, Walmart on the right.

Clicking the image will get you the full size version.

permalink | December 27, 2017 at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)

December 9, 2017

No Smoke Here

Desert Hot Springs - December 9, 2017 (1504)
Desert Hot Springs today.

permalink | December 9, 2017 at 05:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2017

Reverse Logic?

California has a new law that will increase the punishment for some crimes if they are recorded on video. Here's the business part of the new law: "667.95. In sentencing a person convicted of a violent felony listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5, the court may consider, as a factor in aggravation, that the defendant willfully recorded a video of the commission of the violent felony with the intent to encourage or facilitate the offense."

But those videos have been helpful in getting convictions and lengthening sentences. Why do we want to discourage that? I'm all for some additional punishment if the video is made public, but if it's not made public what's the reason for an enhanced sentence?

permalink | October 12, 2017 at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 9, 2017

New Twist For The Cadiz Water Project

It has been determined that the state owns a parcel of land that the pipeline would cross.

The parcel is a tiny piece of the millions of acres that Congress in 1853 granted to California for the benefit of public education. The state sold most of the so-called schools lands but still owns desert tracts controlled by the commission.

[State Lands] Commission spokeswoman Sheri Pemberton said the state never sold the 200-foot-wide strip because in 1910 California granted a railroad right-of-way over it. Now, the commission says Cadiz needs a state lease to use that portion of the right-of-way for the water pipeline.

permalink | October 9, 2017 at 07:44 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2017

Ivan Sewell New Commissioner At MSWD

With a unanimous vote, the MSWD board selected Ivan Sewell to take John Furbee's spot on the board until the next election, November 2018. Then, the voters will get a chance to re-elect him to the remaining 2 years of Furbee's term, or elect someone else.
Ivan Sewell Being Sworn In As MSWD Commissioner

The two other candidates were perennial candidate Malcolm MacLean and Steve Grasha. Mr. Grasha is the inventor of the misting system, which is so ubiquitous here in Coachella Valley, if I understood him correctly. He's also working with the Trump campaign in some capacity and said that after the meeting today, he was heading over to Arizona. He seemed a bit reluctant to bring this up, at first saying he had been working for a candidate for "national office." There being only two elected national offices in this country, it wasn't hard to guess who he meant, but it became clearer when he referenced Arizona and said that he knew his views on who is in the President's office were not popular in DHS. He never named Trump.

I have been disappointed with the MSWD board's reluctance to replace Mr. Furbee before he passed away. We could have had Mr. Sewall working for the public good months ago.

permalink | August 21, 2017 at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

August 11, 2017

Los Angeles Neon Tours

Recently I went on two different bus tours offered by the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale. We toured on two Saturday nights, starting at 7:30 PM in downtown Los Angeles. The tours, while mostly about neon, become tours of architecture and history as well as drinking and dining suggestions. The buses rarely stop and stand still just where you want them to, but the surprisingly good image stabilization and fast focusing of one of my cheap Canon cameras managed to produce some good images.

Tower Theater (1024)
Tower Theater, which has been acquired by Apple to become the downtown Apple Store
.

The Last Book Store (1459)
Just like it says, in downtown LA
.

Palace (1537)

Out Of The Closet (1599)

L.A. City Hall (1485B)

KFC (1601)
Neon KFC!

KLYT Entrance (1447)
To my utter surprise, I learned this is the oldest gay bathhouse in LA!
I'd never heard of it before...nor had any of my friends who I asked. Klyt (I don't know what it stands for) opened in the 1920s on 4th Street not as a gay bathhouse, but evolved into one. How this escaped the 1980s, I can't imagine. My fear of bedbugs will keep me from exploring this one, although I'd really like to check it out.

K.G. Louie (1507)

Hotel Rosslyn (1453)

Downtown Los Angeles August 2017 (1488)
The Chinatown Chevron must have the highest prices in the state
. The price at Furnace Creek this day was only $3.069.

Downtown Los Angeles (1464)

Downtown Los Angeles (1440)

Coffee Breakfast (1615)

Chinatown (1510)

Bradbury Building (1437)
The Bradbury Building
.

Angels Flight (1426)
Angels Flight
, which is supposed to return to service in 2018.

2nd Street Tunnel - Los Angeles
2nd Street Tunnel video
. Click through to see the video.

US Bank Building (0899)
Still the tallest building in L.A., IMO
.

Eric Tour Guide (0821)
Eric, the tour guide for the first tour I went on
. The guide for the second tour was also named Eric, but looked a little different.

New Chinatown dates from the 1930s (0855)
"New Chinatown" is Chinatown
, which was moved here in the 1930s to clear way for the construction of Union Station.

Hotel Normandie (0936)

Bend (1010)
"Bendix," of course, but the bus was rolling and by the time I got the camera aimed, this is all I got
.

Axis on 12th (1008)

Mayan Theater (1002)
Mayan Theater

Eastern Clock (1018)

Clifton's Cafeteria (1029)

Bradbury Building New Lights (1046)
The Bradbury Building with its controversial new lighting
.

Main Street Garage (1051)
A parking garage at 4th & Main
. I think it's just art.

The complete sets of photos can be seen here.

permalink | August 11, 2017 at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2017

Dore Alley 2017 Photos

A few photos from this year's Dore Alley ("Up Your Alley") in San Francisco.

Dancers (1289)

Pink Man (1191)

Hug (1400)

Dore Alley was a sausage fest (1082)

Dore Alley (1114)

Dore Alley nude

Dore Alley nude seated

Many more NSFW images available here.

permalink | August 4, 2017 at 11:26 AM | Comments (2)